СодержаниеRoad Maps → Часть 1

I felt like a one-legged man balanced on a high fence. I could keep hopping along looking for an easy way down, or I could just jump now and take my bruises. I decided to jump.

“What’s your belief, Mr. Avatar? ”

The old man rocked a few times before responding. “Let’s say that you and I decide to travel separately to the same place. You have a map that is blue and I have a map that is green. Neither map shows all the possible routes, but both maps show an acceptable—yet different—route to the destination. If we both take our trips and return safely, we would spread the word of our successful maps to others. I would say, with complete conviction, that my green map was perfect, and I might warn people to avoid any other sort of map. You would feel the same conviction about your blue map.

“Religions are like different maps whose routes all lead to the collective good of society. Some maps take their followers over rugged terrain. Other maps have easier paths. Some of the travelers of each route will be assigned the job of being the protectors and interpreters of the map. They will teach the young to respect it and be suspicious of other maps. ”

“Okay, ” I said, “but who made the maps in the first place? ”

“The maps were made by the people who went first and didn’t die. The maps that survive are the ones that work, ” he said.

At last, he had presented a target for me to attack. “Are you saying that all the religions work? What about all the people who have been killed in religious wars? ”

“You can’t judge the value of a thing by looking only at costs. In many countries, more people die from hospital errors than religious wars, but no one accuses hospitals of being evil. Religious people are happier, they live longer, have fewer accidents, and stay out of trouble compared to nonreligious people. From society’s viewpoint, religion works. ”


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